Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Australia’s Hottest Day


Australia has a reputation for being a warm and sunny country but when does warm become – as Australian’s like to say – “stinkin’ bloody hot”? Today’s Fun Fact Wednesday looks at the hottest daily temperature recorded in Australia.

According to records kept by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Australia’s hottest day was on 2 January 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport when the temperature reached 50.7 degrees Celsius. This year’s temperatures have been milder with the hottest day so far occurring on 1 January 2010 at Onslow in Western Australia where the maximum temperature hit 49.2 degrees Celsius.

If you are out in the Australian sun remember the UV Index can be hazardous so don’t forget to “slip, slop, slap”.

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The World’s Longest Fence


Today’s Fun Fact Wednesday is about Australia’s Dingo Fence – the world’s longest fence - stretching 5,614km. Its construction commenced in the 1880s and the fence runs from South East Queensland to west of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia.

The purpose of the fence is to stop dingoes from harming the herds of sheep in fertile areas of south eastern Australia. It is 1.8m high and extends 30cm below ground.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Qantas 90th Anniversary


90 years ago on the 16 November 1920, Australia’s national airline QANTAS was formed by Lieutenant Wilmot Hudson Fysh and Lieutenant Paul McGinness. Both had fought at Gallipoli before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps. On their return to Australia, they were commissioned to build airstrips for the Great Air Race. This is when they realised the benefits air travel could offer to cover Australia’s vast distances.

QANTAS originally stood for the Queensland And Northern Territory Air Service and commenced operations in Longreach, Queensland in 1921. Initially Qantas offered joy rides and an air taxi service, but shortly after commenced regular passenger flights from Charleville to Cloncurry.

qantas booking

Although Qantas has a reputation for being one of the world’s safest airlines, it did lose aircraft flown on behalf of the military in WWII. Its first international flight was from Darwin to Singapore in 1935 and its first jet aircraft was a Boeing 707-138 which it put into operation in 1959. In 90 years Qantas has expanded the reach of Australian aviation, now travelling to 18 domestic destinations and 21 international destinations. It also runs flightseeing flights to the Antarctic.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Australian Water Use


Australia is a dry country with its sweeping deserts and rugged outback - receiving on average, only 500mm of rainfall annually.

Today’s Fun Fact Wednesday will look at how water is consumed in Australia.

Every five years the Australian Bureau of Statistics prepares Australia’s Water Accounts which detail our uses of water and its consumption.

The last accounts, prepared in 2004-05 showed some interesting facts:

  1. Australia’s total water use equalled 80,000 gigalitres1;
  2. Of the total water used, over 75% was returned to the environment with 18,767 gigalitres being consumed;
  3. Major consumers of this 18,767 gigalitres were Agriculture (65%) and Households (11%);
  4. This household water consumption equates to 285 litres per person per day. US household water consumption by comparison equates to 262 litres per person per day.

1. 1 gigalitre = 500 Olympic swimming pools

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sculpture by the Sea


Sculpture by the Sea is an art exhibition of outdoor sculpture, held at Bondi Beach, Sydney and Cottesloe Beach, Perth, each year. The Bondi exhibition is currently running until 14 November 2010, while the Cottesloe exhibition will commence next year on the 4 March 2011. It is a free event that is very popular with the weekend crowd so be sure to go early or take in the art works with the evening sunset.

Started by David Handley in 1997, with a budget of only $11,000, the first Sculpture by the Sea managed to attracted 25,000 people. Today it is expected that over $1 million of art will be sold at the Bondi exhibition alone.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Australian Gambling


Australia is a nation of gamblers and it is said that Australian’s will bet on anything, even two flies crawling up a wall. Today’s Fun Fact Wednesday looks at how much Australian’s gamble each year.

Yesterday, the 2010 Melbourne Cup saw over $150 million wagered by Australian’s across the country. In 2005 it is estimated that Australians bet a total of $15 billion, but only $2.1 billion of this was on racing. Our favourite form of gambling is the poker/gaming machine through which we pumped over $8 billion. The was followed by casinos where Australians bet a total of $2.6 billion throughout the year1.

1. Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, Gambling Services 2004-05

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Americain wins 2010 Melbourne Cup

Melbourne_Cup_TrophyIn a surprise finish, French horse Americain, ridden by Gerald Mosse has won the 2010 Melbourne Cup. Americain beat Maluckyday (2nd) and favourite So You Think (3rd) on a wet track in Melbourne.

So You Think - trained by Bart Cummings - led for much of the race while his other horse Precedence came in 11th. The Gai Waterhouse trained Descarado failed to finish the race.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Bart Cummings

Bart Cummings

In keeping with this week’s Melbourne Cup theme, today we are reviewing the achievements of James Bartholomew (“Bart”) Cummings. Born 14 November 1927 in Adelaide, Bart Cummings started work at his father’s stables soon after leaving school. He established his own stables at Flemington in 1968 and then in Randwick, Sydney in 1975.

He is considered one of Australia’s most successful horse trainers, having won the Melbourne Cup twelve times to date, with the horse “Think Big” winning twice in 1974 and 1975. In 1988 he became the first trainer to achieve prize winnings of more that $6 million.

He was honoured with the Order of Australia (AM) in 1982 for services to racing and carried the torch in the 2000 Olympics. Bart Cummings also appears on a stamp in 2007 as part of Australia Post’s Australian Legends series.

There were doubts that Bart Cummings would be present for this year’s Melbourne Cup in which he is running two horses – “So You Think” and “Precedence” - following hospitalisation for a serious illness. After being released on Sunday it appears he will be attending and the Victoria Racing Club has promised to take care of him on a day that is going to reach a maximum of 17 degrees.